In early June, Ontario’s Ford government denied speculations that 50 new marijuana dispensaries would be issued licenses. However, less than a month later, the Alcohol and Gaming’s commission (AGCO) has announced new opportunities for retailers looking to sell the “devil’s lettuce.” 

According to Doug Downey, Ontario’s Attorney General, fresh outlets will help to address “federal cannabis supply shortages” and will “protect young people, keep our roads and communities safe, and combat the illegal market.”

Since Marijuana’s legalization by the Trudeau administration in 2018, Ontario has limited the number of licensed marijuana vendors to 25. That number fell far below the possibility of satisfying consumer demand.  

According to CityNews, fewer than half of the 25 marijuana dispensaries initially licensed in Ontario illustrated the capacity to open at their given deadline. To address this problem, the AGCO has asked that interested outlets demonstrate that “they have the financial capacity to open a cannabis retail store and have secured suitable retail space that could be used for it.” 

Chosen stores must enter into operation no later than October 2019. 

Among the 50 mandated dispensaries, eight have been set aside for First Nations reserves. Indigenous parties must receive Band council approval, but quickly, as the AGCO will be handing out licenses on a first come first serve basis.

Otherwise, the majority of applicants will be submitting requests between August 7 and August 9. Within 24 hours of the August 20 lottery draw, winning retailers will be notified of their selection.